Van Wert fire captain saves girl near Youngstown
Tuesday, March 04, 2014 12:01 AM
This 2012 file photo of Craig King (center) was taken when he was promoted to captain in the Van Wert Fire Department. King saved the life of a young girl last week while attending fire training near Youngstown, Ohio. (TB file photo)
VAN WERT — Craig King is no stranger to desperate situations. The Middle Point fire chief and captain in the Van Wert Fire Department has dealt with many emergencies, both on and off the job. Last week, King was the right man to be in the right place at the right time.
King was in Boardman Township, near Youngstown, Ohio taking a class for his fire training. On Tuesday, King was returning to class after having lunch, but he noticed that he did not have his cell phone with him. He decided to retrieve it before heading back. After finding his phone, King headed back through traffic to return to class. However before making it back, he noticed a situation going on in the vehicle in front of him at the stop light.
King described what he saw, “I assumed it was parents trying to reach something their kid had dropped or something. Then the dad jumped out of the car and was reaching in the back like he was trying to hurry up before the light turned green. Then I see mom jump out of the car. Pretty soon dad pulls out this girl who is pretty blue.”
Faced with an emergency situation while a few hours from home, King leaped into action.
“I immediately ran up to this car and basically attempted to clear the airway several times,” he said. “The father was kind of in shock. At first I thought he was trying to do the Heimlich maneuver on her, but he was just kind of in shock. I grabbed her right away from his arms. Then the mother was kind of standing there crying, so it was very emotional.
As King worked desperately to save the four-year old girl, three other firefighter from the class pulled up behind the scene and blocked traffic with their fire SUV, turned on the flashing lights. Shortly after that, after working on the girl for 20-25 seconds, King had success in his attempts to help the little girl breathe.
“After several times, I finally got it to clear. She started breathing,” he reported. “I had called 911 because I didn’t think she was going to make it; she was that purple. By the time the engine got there, she was standing up and talking and… a miracle! It was incredible.
What had caused the girl’s airway to become blocked? King said she was choking on a Chicken McNugget.
Two days later, King was honored in front of the class by the administrators from Boardman Township and was given a proclamation certificate and some other items from the local administrator.
The parents were fortunate to have come across a firefighter with experience in the vehicle right behind them. Fortunately King was prepared, although he was not expecting to be in that type of situation while on lunch break from a class miles from home.
He admitted, “This was a little out of my element. I was at a traffic light, kind of minding my own business. It kind of caught me by surprise. After it was all over, I was relieved. I was very emotional, I’ll put it that way. Being the father of two girls, it hit harder. It was amazing. My best day on the job, and I wasn’t working! It was awesome!”